supporting a big family

A Bigger Family Doesn't Always Equal The Bigger Support Systems You See On TV

The quirky, wholesome family shows on TV don't depict what my family has.

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I've always lived in a large household. From birth, I lived with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and immediate family.

Despite the constant crowd of people in my home, I always felt lonely as a child. I was the youngest, and my two older brothers never wanted anything to do with me. I don't have many memories as a child, and the ones I do have aren't pleasant. It wasn't until my little brother was born that I finally had someone to connect with and rely on, someone whose entire world was me.

Throughout the years, my family has gone through some wear and tear. We've suffered our parents' divorce and estrangement from my father's side of the family, as well as lost bonds with my mother's side of the family as a result of moving cities.

The amount we've gone through has resulted in tension between us. The quirky, wholesome family shows on TV don't depict what my family has. Rather, it represents the opposite of what we are.

I don't feel truly close to my family. My mom has since remarried and had two more children, children who are 14 and 17 years younger than I am. This is how I see my family dynamic: My mom, stepfather and their kids live in this exciting and beautiful world that the other four of us don't exactly get to be a part of. The other four of us live in our own world, as well, but not together.

My oldest brother has moved out and has a full-time job. My other brother and I have school, work and social lives that we put all of our time and energy into.

And then there's my little brother, who I feel is the most distant of us all. Over the years, our differences have pulled us apart. And although I'm the closest to him out of everyone in the family, I still feel like our relationship has become wasted potential.

It pains me to see my family like this.

I especially realized how distant we were at my little brother's eighth-grade graduation. Only me, one of my older brothers and my mom showed up. For someone with a big family, he had a small crowd to show off.

My older brother and I had a conversation about this a month ago. We were in Mexico, and over dinner we had a raw discussion about our family and our subtle, yet pressing, distance. We vowed to have more time together, truly as a family. And that's exactly what we've done.

We want to create an ideal family for our younger siblings, allowing them to realize what a blessing it is to have so many of us.

I'm excited to watch us continue to grow closer together. Sometimes I fear that moving out for university will limit my interactions with them, but I continue to focus purely on the present.

I couldn't even find a picture of all of us to go along with this article.

Cover Image Credit:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FamiliaOjeda.JPG

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True Tales Of Growing Up In A BIG Family

Spoiler alert, I get tackled a lot.

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I was born into a fairly large family. I have upwards of twenty-something first cousins, many of who are around the same age as me. It has honestly been both a blessing and a curse to have so many people around me all the time. Some of my favorite memories come from family gatherings where all of my cousins were there. However, since most of my cousins are male, there has also been a lot of physical violence where people get hurt, even if the intentions were innocent. I have so many stories about my family, some of which I won't share here because they are a little bit inappropriate, but others are too good not to share.

The first story I want to share is from this past Easter. Most of my cousins on my Dad's side were at my Papa's house celebrating the holiday. There was so much food we could probably feed a small army. Some of the older cousins decided that we were going to play a game of whiffle ball. All of the cousins who were playing were at least sixteen and some of them were much older. Many of us had or are playing sports in High School or College so this game of whiffle ball got extremely competitive very fast. I ended up being the Umpire/pitcher because I played softball for so long. The game ended with my brothers winning and my other cousins upset that they lost, but it was still one of the memories I will cherish the most even though I definitely threw out my shoulder pitching.

I can remember playing a game of football on Thanksgiving when I was young (maybe five or six). This game, not unlike the whiffle ball game we played at Easter, got super competitive super fast to the point where even I, as a six-year-old, was being pushed and tackled to the ground by much older boys. I honestly can't remember much about that game, maybe I got hit in the head too much, but I do remember having so much fun playing with my cousins.

I've been on a cruise two times in my life, both times with my extended family. One cruise was to Mexico when I was very little. What I remember about that cruise was getting extremely sea sick and that the cleaning staff would make towel monkey on our beds. The cruise was to Alaska when I was a lot older, I think I was fifteen. Since I and my cousins were much older on that cruise, we caused a lot more trouble and were able to get away with it. Every night we would go to the pool and swim. Then, we would go to the buffet and only eat pineapples and mac and cheese. We, also, may have or may not have gone into a bar to sing karaoke. While the cruise was fun, I wouldn't have had such a great time if I wasn't with my family.

While sometimes they can be a pain, having so much family has taught me a lot about communication and playing right. Again, I only have scratched the surface here in regards to the plentiful stories I have, many of which are so much funnier. I love my family so much and I would never trade that in for the world.

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